American Literature Multiple Choice Questions
1. What time does the poem “The Raven” take place?
Answer: a. midnight
2. When the author first heard the “rapping at his chamber door,” in “The Raven”, who did he think was outside?
a. his neighbour
b. the raven
d. some late night visitor
Answer: d. some late night visitor
3. In what month does the poem “The Raven” take place?
Answer: a. december
4. What is the name of the “rare and radiant maiden” for whom the author mourns in “The Raven”?
Answer: b. lenore
5. What happens when the author opens the door in “The Raven”?
a. the raven flies in
b. he screams
c. he only sees darkness
d. he sees lenore standing outside
Answer: c. he only sees darkness
6. What word does the raven say whenever he speaks?
Answer: c. nevermore
7. Where does the raven perch when he comes into the house?
a. on the door frame
b. on the mantle above the fireplace
c. on a bust of pallas
d. on the chair
Answer: c. on a bust of pallas
8. What was the author doing at the beginning of the poem “The Raven”?
a. eating dinner
b. reading a book
c. cutting his toenails
d. writing a letter
Answer: d. writing a letter
9. The raven is a symbol of
Answer: d. death
10. How did the raven get into the house?
a. he stepped in the window
b. he came in the chimney
c. he flew in the door
d. he was already in the house
Answer: a. he stepped in the window
11. In what year was the first edition of “Leaves of Grass” published?
Answer: d. 1855
12. Which of Whitman’s contemporaries famously praised “Leaves of Grass” as “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom America has yet contributed”?
a. henry wadsworth longfellow
b. henry david thoreau
c. oliver wendell holmes
d. ralph waldo emerson
Answer: d. ralph waldo emerson
13. “Passage to India” is an example of which Literary Movement?
c. black art movement
Answer: b. transcendentalism
14. Opening stanza of “Passage to India” celebrates which of the following great engineering achievements?
a. the laying of the transatlantic undersea cable
b. the joining of the union pacific and central pacific railroads at utah
c. invention of steam engine
d. the opening of the suez canal
Answer: d. the opening of the suez canal
15. Who is the “The Admiral himself” described in the poem “Passage to India”?
a. marco polo
Answer: c. columbus
16. Those oppressive “Cathedral Tunes” reflect the poem’s (“There is a certain slant of Light”) theme of
d. versions of reality
Answer: a. isolation
17. That ‘Heavenly Hurt’ in “There is a certain slant of Light” that leaves no scar works with the speaker’s sense of
Answer: b. suffering
18. The lines “When it comes, the Landscape listens – Shadows – hold their breath” in “There is a certain slant of Light” is an example of?
c. pathetic fallacy
Answer: c. pathetic fallacy
19. How did Dickinson intend for the light to be viewed in “There is a certain slant of Light”?
Answer: a. oppressive
20. That “seal Despair” in “There is a certain slant of Light” is a sort of metaphor for the speaker’s
c. versions of reality
Answer: d. suffering
21. When the landscape “listens” in “There is a certain slant of Light”, it brings to mind the poem’s theme of
a. society and class
b. awe and amazement
Answer: b. awe and amazement
22. What is the literal meaning of the title “Home Burial”?
a. death of marriage
b. a broken home
c. the death of the child
d. a broken marriage
Answer: c. the death of the child
23. In “Home Burial”, what is the mother’s name?
Answer: c. amy
24. What does the wife see through the window at the beginning of “Home Burial”?
a. horsemen approaching
b. the coroner’s wagon
c. her child’s grave
d. her husband returning
Answer: c. her child’s grave
25. What is the metaphorical meaning of the title “Home Burial”?
a. the end of the marriage
b. end of life
c. beginning of a new life
d. a new chapter in their lives
Answer: a. the end of the marriage
26. Who makes the ice cream in “The Emperor of Ice Cream”?
a. the mother
b. the speaker
c. the roller of big cigars
d. the newspaper boys
Answer: c. the roller of big cigars
27. Which is NOT an adjective you could apply to the cigar man in “The Emperor of Ice Cream”, based on the poem’s description of him?
Answer: d. arrogant
28. What is embroidered on the sheet used to cover the body in “The Emperor of Ice Cream”?
Answer: a. birds
29. What part of the woman’s body might remain visible in “The Emperor of Ice Cream”?
a. her wrinkled hands
b. her closed eyes
c. her stringy hair
d. her horny feet
Answer: d. her horny feet
30. What are the wenches doing in “The Emperor of Ice Cream”?
a. wrapping up the body
b. taking care of the boys
d. hanging around
Answer: d. hanging around
31. Who is the blue-eyed boy in E.E. Cummings’ poem ‘Buffalo Bill’s/defunct’?
a. buffalo bill
b. mr. death
c. e.e. cummings
d. e.e. cummings\ son
Answer: a. buffalo bill
32. What colour is the stallion in “Buffalo Bill’s defunct”?
Answer: c. silver
33. What is the original name of ‘Buffalo Bill’?
a. william scout
b. william cody
c. william bill
d. william west
Answer: b. william cody
34. The poem “I, Too” references which dark portion of America’s past?
a. the civil war
c. the civil rights movement
Answer: b. slavery
35. What is the point of view in the poem, “I, Too”?
a. 1st person
b. 2nd person
c. 3rd person
d. 4th person
Answer: a. 1st person
36. In the poem, “I, Too,” America is a symbol for . . .
Answer: d. freedom
37. What is the speaker referring to when he says “I am the darker brother” in “I, Too?”
a. his family role
b. his troubled past
c. his skin colour
d. his angry mood
Answer: c. his skin colour
38. What is the tone of this poem?
Answer: a. optimistic
39. In “I, Too,” the speaker says that tomorrow, no one will dare to
a. insult him
b. throw him out
c. hurt him
d. tell him to eat in the kitchen
Answer: d. tell him to eat in the kitchen
40. An advertisement for what insensitively uses an image of Hiroshima in “For the Union Dead?”
a. a movie
b. a brand of safes
c. a brand of watch
d. a skin care product
Answer: b. a brand of safes
41. Colonel Shaw served in which war in “For the Union Dead?”
a. world war i
b. world war ii
c. the vietnam war
d. the civil war
Answer: d. the civil war
42. What animal does the final stanza compare cars to in “For the Union Dead?”
Answer: b. fish
43. The waists on the stone statues of soldiers are compared to what in “For the Union Dead?”
Answer: d. wasps
44. What does Colonel Shaw’s father want in “For the Union Dead?”
a. a better monument
b. the ditch
d. his son\s weapon
Answer: b. the ditch
45. What does Colonel Shaw wait for at the end of the poem “For the Union Dead?”
a. a greyhound\s gentle tautness
b. a parking spot
c. an end to violence
d. the blessed break
Answer: d. the blessed break
46. What desert does Lowell reference in the first stanza in “For the Union Dead?”
Answer: c. sahara
47. What is St. Gauden’s relief made of in “For the Union Dead?”?
Answer: d. bronze
48. Allen Ginsberg is traditionally associated with what literary movement?
a. the hippie poets
b. the beat poets
c. the flower children
d. the romantic poets
Answer: b. the beat poets
49. Which industrial tycoon does Ginsberg cite in “America?”
a. larry miles
b. henry ford
c. warren buffett
d. cornelius vanderbilt
Answer: b. henry ford
50. Ginsberg had an ambition to become which of the following in “America”?
Answer: b. president.
51. Ginsberg’s vision of America in “America” is inspired from?
a. walt whitman
b. ralph waldo emerson
c. robert frost
d. edgar alan poe
Answer: a. walt whitman
52. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is considered part of which movement?
b. confessional poetry
Answer: b. confessional poetry
53. The only novel written by Sylvia Plath is?
b. the colossus
c. life studies
d. the bell jar
Answer: d. the bell jar
54. What is the literary device used throughout the poem “Edge?”
d. internal rhyme
Answer: a. enjambment
55. Which character from Greek mythology is used by Plath in her poem “Edge?”
Answer: b. medea
56. In his essay, “Self-Reliance” Emerson likens self-esteem with what?
a. the ego
c. a child
d. a psalm
Answer: c. a child
57. In “Self-Reliance,” Emerson talks about how individuals should not conform to what?
a. the church\s morals
b. societal norms
c. the ego
d. their intuition
Answer: b. societal norms
58. What is the name of the journal launched by the Transcendentalists?
a. the eye
c. the dial
Answer: c. the dial
59. What is NOT one of the influences upon Emerson’s thinking?
Answer: b. epicureanism
60. What is society compared to in “Self Reliance?”
b. joint-stock company
Answer: b. joint-stock company
61. Why must men seek solitude as mentioned in “Self Reliance?”?
a. to value society upon return
b. to experience nature
c. to think without the influence of society
d. to find god
Answer: c. to think without the influence of society
62. What does Emerson consider a valid form of prayer in “Self Reliance?”?
a. latin liturgy
b. a long, quiet walk
d. right action
Answer: d. right action
63. On what basis does progress occur as mentioned in “Self Reliance?”
Answer: b. individual
64. What does Emerson say has made men weak and afraid of truth in “Self Reliance?”?
Answer: d. pretence
65. Why do people not trust themselves as mentioned in “Self Reliance?”
a. they\ve never had a pure thought
b. societal disapproval and foolish consistency
c. fear of failure
d. they are separated from nature
Answer: b. societal disapproval and foolish consistency
66. What is the “hobgoblin of little minds as mentioned in “Self Reliance?”
Answer: c. consistency
67. According to Emerson, what does every educated man eventually realize in “Self Reliance?”
a. perspective is flawed
b. life is fleeting
c. wealth is subjective
d. envy is ignorance
Answer: d. envy is ignorance
68. Which body part has Ahab lost to Moby Dick?
a. his leg
b. his arm
c. his eye
d. his fingers
Answer: a. his leg
69. What is the name of Ahab’s ship?
a. the town-ho
b. the rachel
c. the samuel enderby
d. the pequod
Answer: d. the pequod
70. What is Ishmael’s reason for signing up for a whaling voyage?
a. he wishes to study cetology.
b. he has debts that he must quickly repay.
c. he has lost his wife and has no reason to stay on land.
d. he thinks that going to sea provides fresh exercise.
Answer: d. he thinks that going to sea provides fresh exercise.
71. To which historical person does Ishmael compare Queequeg?
a. thomas jefferson
b. george washington
c. julius caesar
d. oliver cromwell
Answer: b. george washington
72. Which character is the only survivor from the Pequod?
Answer: c. ishmael
73. What is the importance of the colour of the whale?
a. it changes depending on one\s perspective of the whale.
b. it is not a colour, in fact, but is in fact the absence of colour.
c. it perfectly mirrors the colour of ahab\s skin.
d. it means that moby dick represents purity and innocence.
Answer: b. it is not a colour, in fact, but is in fact the absence of colour.
74. What does Ahab promise to whoever first spots Moby Dick?
a. use of his cabin
b. an antique harpoon
c. a share of the pequod\s profits
d. a gold doubloon
Answer: d. a gold doubloon
75. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can best be described as:
a. a social commentary
b. an epic
c. an abolitionist novel
d. a humour novel
Answer: a. a social commentary
76. Huck’s Pap returns because he:
a. wants huck\s money
b. wants revenge on judge thatcher
c. misses his son
d. all of the above
Answer: a. wants huck\s money
77. When Jim first sees Huck Finn on the island, he thinks Huck:
a. is a ghost
b. has run away from home
c. has come to arrest him
d. is trying to bewitch him
Answer: a. is a ghost
78. Jim runs away from Miss Watson because:
a. she is planning to sell him to a slave trader who will take him to new orleans
b. he wants to spend time with huck
c. he is tired of being a slave
d. he wants to be re-united with his family
Answer: a. she is planning to sell him to a slave trader who will take him to new orleans
79. The river best serves as a symbol of which of the following in Huckleberry Finn?
Answer: c. freedom
80. Huck assumes all of the following identities except:
a. tom sawyer
b. george peters
c. thomas smith
d. sarah williams
Answer: c. thomas smith
81. From which family do the Duke and the Dauphin try to steal the inheritance in Huckleberry Finn?
a. the wilks
b. the shepherdsons
c. the grangerfords
d. the phelps
Answer: a. the wilks
82. What is Benjy’s “graveyard” in The Sound and the Fury?
a. two blue glass bottles full of flowers
b. a patch of jimson weed
c. the grave of a dead pet
d. a pile of stones
Answer: a. two blue glass bottles full of flowers
83. Why is Benjy’s name changed in The Sound and the Fury?
a. as a punishment for bad behaviour
b. because father wants him to have his name
c. because uncle maury is offended
d. because mother wants to get rid of the “curse”
Answer: d. because mother wants to get rid of the “curse”
84. What attribute of Caddy does Benjy frequently note in The Sound and the Fury?
a. has nightmares
b. is a tomboy
c. is afraid of her brothers
d. smells like trees
Answer: d. smells like trees
85. The character Damuddy in The Sound and the Fury is
a. caddy’s daughter
b. the compson’s cook
c. the family name for carolyn compson
d. the grandmother of the compson children
Answer: d. the grandmother of the compson children
86. The entire Quentin section in The Sound and the Fury is told over a period of
a. a christmas vacation from his studies at harvard
b. an unspecified block of years
c. one day
d. the year before caddy’s marriage
Answer: c. one day
87. What is the name of Son’s hometown in Tar Baby?
Answer: d. eloe
88. What pest invades Valerian’s greenhouse in Tar Baby?
Answer: a. ants
89. What did Therese used to do as a job?
a. she was a cook.
b. she was a tour guide.
c. she was a wet nurse.
d. she was a janitor.
Answer: c. she was a wet nurse.
90. What is the play Emperor Jones an allegory for?
d. u.s. imperialism
Answer: d. u.s. imperialism
91. What was the original title of the play Emperor Jones?
a. the silver bullet
b. the indies
c. the escape
d. the emperor brutus
Answer: a. the silver bullet
92. What is the only item of furniture in the palace of the emperor in Emperor Jones?
a. a rocking chair
b. a couch
c. an ottoman
d. a throne
Answer: d. a throne
93. Who is the only subject in the palace in Emperor Jones?
b. an old woman
Answer: b. an old woman
94. What weapon is Smithers carrying in Emperor Jones?
a. a whip
b. a gun
c. a sword
d. a bomb
Answer: a. a whip
95. Who tried to assassinate Jones in Emperor Jones?
d. the old woman
Answer: c. lem
96. What did Jones tell his subjects was the only thing that could kill him in Emperor Jones?
a. a silver bullet
c. a knife
d. an arrow
Answer: a. a silver bullet
97. Why did Jones kill Jeff in Emperor Jones?
a. jeff owed him a large debt
b. a dispute in a game of craps
c. jeff slept with his wife
d. jeff called him a name
Answer: b. a dispute in a game of craps
98. The action of the play The Glass Menagerie takes place in the
Answer: d. 1930\\\s
99. The setting of the play The Glass Menagerie
b. new york
c. new orleans
d. st. louis
Answer: d. st. louis
100. Tom in The Glass Menagerie works at
a. a shoe warehouse
b. a bank
c. the docks
d. a bakery
Answer: a. a shoe warehouse
101. How is Laura physically handicapped in The Glass Menagerie?
a. she has a lame leg.
b. she is blind.
c. she is autistic.
d. she has a lame arm.
Answer: a. she has a lame leg.
102. Amanda never allows Laura or Tom to describe Laura’s condition using the word
Answer: d. crippled
103. Jim O’Connor voices the opinion that
a. amanda is an inconsiderate hostess
b. laura should see a psychoanalyst
c. someone should kiss laura
d. tom should stop going to so many movies
Answer: c. someone should kiss laura
104. What does Tom warn Amanda about Mr. O’Connor?
a. mr. o’connor doesn’t like to go to the movies.
b. mr. o’connor has a drinking problem.
c. mr. o’connor has been fired from his last two jobs.
d. mr. o’connor doesn’t know about laura.
Answer: d. mr. o’connor doesn’t know about laura.
105. What happens when Laura’s glass unicorn is broken?
a. she becomes ill and rushes to her room.
b. she demands that amanda get her a new one.
c. she maintains that now the unicorn is normal.
d. she tells tom she never cared for the unicorn.
Answer: c. she maintains that now the unicorn is normal.
106. “Dutchman” is a reference to a/an
b. slave ship
Answer: b. slave ship
107. What is Lula’s first name in “Dutchman?”
Answer: c. lena
108. What poet does Clay, in “Dutchman”, say he thought he was?
Answer: b. baudelaire
109. Lula, in “Dutchman”, calls Clay “my _______”
Answer: b. christ
110. Lula, in “Dutchman”, labels Clay
a. an idiot
b. a slave
c. a liar
d. a murderer
Answer: d. a murderer
111. What is one thing that Lula, in “Dutchman” has in her bag?
b. a soda
Answer: d. books